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How does Utterson's role in 'Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde' reflect the social concerns of the era?

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Introduction

How does Utterson's role in 'Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde' reflect the social concerns of the era? In its narrative of a respectable doctor who transforms into an evil and savage murderer, 'Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde' tapped directly into the social concerns of Stevenson's age. The Victorian era was a time of unprecedented technological progress and an age in which European nations carved up the world with their empires. By the end of the century, however, many people were beginning to question the ideals of progress and civilization that had defined the era and a growing sense of pessimism and decline pervaded artistic circles. Many felt that the end of the century was also witnessing a twilight of western culture. Stevenson's novel imagines an inextricable link between civilization and savagery, good and evil and plays with the concept whose foundations flowed not from fiction but from fact. The western world's contact with other people and ways of life, shows itself in 'Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde' as a spirit between good and evil spurns from the Victorians reluctance to indulge aspects of these cultures within itself that were both desired and feared, just as Utterson fears to indulge them in the book. ...read more.

Middle

as a destroyer of reputation Similarly, when Utterson suspects Jekyll first of being blackmailed and then of sheltering Hyde from the police, he does not make his suspicions known; part of being a good friend of Jekyll's is a willingness to keep his secrets and not ruin his respectability. This would have been a general social concern. The importance of reputation in the novel also reflects the importance of appearances and facades which often hide a sordid underside. In many instances, Utterson, true to his Victorian society, adamantly wishes not only to preserve Jekyll's reputation but also to preserve the appearance of order and decorum, even as he senses a vile truth lurking underneath. "A murderer's autograph". Only an invitation to dinner". Even though Utterson is suspicious of what Jekyll is up to, he refuses to share his suspicions with nobody else and in doing so protects Jekyll's reputation. Utterson's status as the epitome of Victorian norms also stems from his devotion to reason and common sense. He investigates what becomes a supernatural sequence of events but never allows himself to even entertain the notion that something uncanny may be going on. He considers that misdeeds may be occurring but not that the mystical or metaphysical might be afoot. ...read more.

Conclusion

Also, because he is a doctor, Jekyll is imprisoned by the power of science, as this is what is entailed in his job. "Let me but escape into a laboratory door". Throughout the novel Jekyll spends a great amount of time in his laboratory carrying out experiments. This is because he has become indebted to the power of science and therefore this is where his fascination his sprung from. In conclusion, Utterson represents the perfect gentleman of the Victorian era but also reflects the insecurities of Victorian society. He is a largely unexciting character with no huge passions. He does not try to ruin Jekyll's reputation and despite his suspicions he does not air them and prefers to stick to order and decorum. He is a devotee to reason and common sense and even at the end he still refuses to take part in idle gossip and prefers to find a sensible solution. Through his nightmares wee can see that he does feel a sense of fascination about the darker side of society but detests it. Finally, Jekyll contrasts to Utterson by the fact that once he has explored the darker side of society he wants more and feels fascination unlike Utterson. Utterson is not as imprisoned by the power of science to warrant the depths to which Dr.Jekyll went to explore the unknown. ...read more.

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